South Padre: May 2015

South Padre: May 2015
Justin's recent personal-best trout—8+ pounds.
I read a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson recently "Life is a journey, not a destination." This got me into thinking what fishing is all about. One big fish, a coveted 30-incher, or maybe catching all you see or come across on a given day? If you think this way, I believe you have lost the true meaning of the sport.

In my opinion, you are truly enjoying fishing when you consider the full package of experiences, rehearsals for that one big show, and of so many more to come. Think about the great memories and relationships you have built over the years through this great sport. That's what it's all about.

I remember vividly my most memorable fish. Not the 140 pound tarpon on 12 lbs-test in Costa Rica, not the 15 pound snook here in Texas, nor my personal-best 10-plus pound trout I caught years ago. It was a lowly 20-inch redfish I caught on a topwater a long time back.

I was fishing a local tournament when I found some huge reds on a skinny, clear-water flat. It all happened while I was wading in knee-deep water when all of a sudden the redfish I was looking for was no further than 20 yards away. I made a cast and began twitching my plug. The red looked to be a perfect tournament specimen and began to show interest. To my dismay out of nowhere came this barely keeper, beating the much larger one to my bait.

Everything seemed to be running in slow motion; desperately reeling the insignificant (so I thought) fish for another shot at the big one. I brought it in so quickly, still very strong, and it dashed abruptly between my bare legs and impaled a hook into my calf while violently shaking its head. Anyone within a mile no doubt heard my screams. Limping to the boat in intense pain I clasped it to my bleeding leg as best I could to prevent the hooks going deeper. To this day I recall so clearly that redfish's dart to eat my lure.

Speaking of redfish, despite all the rain, they have transitioned nicely into their normal spring/early-summer patterns. Reds can be found on shallow sand flats both east and west of the ICW. They can be harder to target on the west side due to recently low tides where they've been mostly calf- to ankle deep during the prime, high-visibility hours. Now on the east side it has been the complete opposite since it's slightly deeper but still clear. Sight-casting opportunities have been numerous and on most occasions all it takes is a well-placed cast. K-Wigglers soft plastics in the old faithful plum/chart and their new bone diamond have been good producers. Topwater success has varied lately. Large schools are not yet evident, mostly pairs and smaller groups of cruising fish.

We are enjoying outstanding trout action, one of the better late-winter/early-spring seasons in a while. If you are hoping for the curtain to open on a personal-best, weight-wise, now is the time to be on the water as they will lose weight quickly when spawning activity gets seriously underway.

As aggressively as they've been feeding and the abundance of shrimp and pinfish in the bays, you can bet that the topwater bite will really turn on this month. If you prefer numbers to trophy fishing, focus on the drops to the ICW, they may not be big but there will be plenty of keepers around. The sand on the east side will also provide lots of sight-casting to single trout. Potholes surrounded by large patches of turtle grass have been and will continue to hold good numbers of trout ready to pounce on anything that comes within their strike zone. When it comes to trout this time of the year, think shallow for bigger fish and deeper for solid keepers.

In closing, I would like to say as a Simms ambassador and field tester, I am very proud and honored to carry a great relationship with a company that has earned such an outstanding reputation for quality and service. The innovation they bring to gear and apparel makes our passion of chasing fish in all weathers much easier and more comfortable. Even though we are at the season's end of fishing in waders, I wanted to mention that through my affiliation I will now be able to provide Simms G3 waders to all my clients who would like to experience the best on the market. Thank you, Simms!

I hope that your rehearsals go well, and when that curtain opens for the big show you will make a perfect cast.